How a Norwegian teacher has replaced textbooks with blogging and social media

The BBC has a report on a pioneering Norwegian teacher on her use of technology and social media in class…

…Ann Michaelsen, a teacher at Sandvika High School just outside Oslo, has been invited to Bett – the education world’s biggest tech fair, held in London – to share her ideas with other technologically minded teachers.

“Social media is first and foremost a place to get connected – we do it every single day outside school or work, sometimes in work,” she says.

“Most people would encourage connections – school seems to be the last place where that is allowed. It’s almost restricted.”

Every student in Ms Michaelsen’s English class is taught how to set up their own blog. This becomes where they display their work, which others can comment on, and the teacher can mark online.

“I don’t use textbooks at all because I think that limits how you teach. I post something on the front of my blog and tell my students: ‘This is what we’re going to do today’, ” she says.

The aim of this method, she adds, is to create a “digitally rich” environment where pupils drive learning and classrooms are constantly online, allowing students to be creative by making their own discoveries rather than being led by a teacher.

“You can’t grade being inventive,” she adds.

The class also uses Quadblogging – software that allows four schools to join up online and interact and comment on each other’s blogs…

Updates and instructions are given via a group Facebook page. Being a member of a group means Ms Michaelsen doesn’t need to address the tricky issue of friend requests from students as people can interact on the page without needing to be Facebook friends first.

“If you’re an English teacher and you’re not using Twitter then you’re missing out,” she explains.

“Teachers are sharing interesting, innovative thoughts. There are people from the US, South Africa and New Zealand on my feed, I can ask people around the world for help.”

The class also makes use of Skype and has link-ups with schools in Lesotho, China and North America…

Sandvika operates a one-to-one policy where every student is provided with a tablet and wi-fi operates throughout the school…

More at: Social media transforms the textbook lesson

What do you think of Ann Michaelsen’s ‘digitally rich’ approach to teaching? An exciting inspiration or something that leaves you cold? Please give us your thoughts and feedback in the comments or via Twitter…

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  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Nice idea, but what do those students with no internet access do? There are always a few; the 3G on phone doesn’t count

  2. PatEdCity

    GWMainprize Didn’t actually see this seminar, but had read about it in the BETT programme. There’s a lot of this going on at the moment.

  3. GWMainprize

    PatEdCity Seems like a good idea in theory. Maybe less so in practice. Not all have any/decent internet. Especially in more deprived areas.

  4. We are fortunate to have a 1:1 ratio of pc laptops in high schools Norway! But my class also collaborates with students in China and Lesotho where they are not so fortunate. To Skype the teacher needs one computer and an internet connection. We have Skyped with our partner school in Lesotho with a mobile connection. Not perfect, but it works. To blog you need a computer lab and to be able to access it once a week perhaps. Everything is possible if you really want to do it!

  5. Rustylink1

    .wearecrowd deputycgreen Of course, in Gsy this wld require ‘revolutionary idea’ of providing an adequate Broadband communications system?

  6. MarianneTeresaRuud

    Why don’t you replace textbooks with yourself instead. Young people need human contact not more of this.Where’s the physical aspect in all of this?
    Marianne Ruud
    Nannestad vgs

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